EarthCARE Global Justice Framework – Sarah Amsler

Notes from session – Tuesday 3rd April, 2018 7-9pm

EarthCARE Global Justice framework –

  • emerged out of an international R&D network of eco-social learning initiatives that seek to integrate ecological, cognitive, affective, relational, and economic approaches to justice.
  • intended to push the boundaries of prevailing approaches to global change beyond problematic patterns of simplistic analyses and engagements
  • aims to support the design of deep learning processes

practical doing (together),

building of trust (in one another),

deepening analyses (of self, systems, and social and ecological complexity),

dismantling walls (between peoples, knowledges, and cultures).

  • Moves beyond the search for universal models/problem-solving and towards preparing people to work together with and through the complexities, uncertainties, paradoxes, and complicities that characterize our efforts


Welcome Aim
Sarah is involved with Earthcare project and wanted to bring it here to talk about and see if it is relevant for us and how.
Who’s here & Why
quite a big mix – SSC members, university students & academics, family, educators.
People are specifically interested in alternative education, justice, and alternative ways of being. Others feeling “intellectually bereft” and thought it looked interesting.
– context

Title= Gesturing towards deep learning for another world

        we need to sit with the messiness of trying to move forward, and not always getting it right.

This is an international network, many different people/projects hae all converged, and specifically through an interest in an alternative Higher Education – thinking about what it can look different/be understood differently.  

  • Film Enlivened learning  – project interviewing and learning from alternative HE projects. Contemporary/dominant form is unsustainable. Actually there is a lot happening (a “silent revolution”) of alternatives
  • movements/networks involved with decolonisation, care and indigenous knowledge in reimagining HE.

This session= What/how can learn from this and for Lincoln SSC?

For Sarah- these projects give hope and perspective about what’s going on in the world and they have been sites of her own transformative learning.



Based on/in environmental justice
-not just about information about the world but rethinking what, how and who we are in it- this is relational – This relational/value learning is not in the curriculum or seen as important.


  1. Practical doing things together
  2. Building relationships and trust -(value itself- not a means to get somewhere).
  3. Deepening analysis – (& live with the complexity/messiness of things
  4. Dismantling walls and separations: – includes body work


To ignore these injustices we reproduce problems/status quo. “Solutions” often reproduce the same assumptions. Even if we don’t accept these things (i.e. capitalist/ethnocentric/individualist/positivist bias) we live within them and so we DO have to deal with this deep stuff.

I.e. Problems are not the uni itself but hierarchies and assumptions within them – these could all be present in “alternative” spaces.
need to think beyond critical/radical reform and to really “change the rules of the game” at the root level

5 types of justice  – interconnected in learning.

Earth is alive/dying/in crisis- we are all part of it.

Cognitive- brainwork-ways we think (not just what but how – monoculture of thought in west about the “rational” not about emotional, spiritual, embodied way of knowing – not seen as real knowledge and valuable knowledge)

Affective- how we are affected – not in cognitive way, also emotional how we learn to sit with failure, how to relate, to feel love, to feel radical love, love the other etc.

Relational- transactional? Do we have deep friendship? Deal with difference, trauma – through generation

Economics – and the violence of economic systems,


Video from Shikshantar (in India)- critique of modern schooling -Manish Jain  
4 Cs- compulsion, Competition, consumerism, compartmentalisation –
This is taken really seriously in India -something that needs urgent action.

We “walk by them here” – crisis in UK schools reproduced in “teaching and learning toolkit” (“problems” are addressed through competitive/positivist/individualist/compartmentalist and capitalist framework). Sarah asks: If this is an urgent problem in other places, why are we funding it by the state? Wants to know where and how we can we reconnect with learning/relationships.


Discussion includes questions, comments and stories, and is open as full group.
What is the goal of education?
Facilitate deep reflection? A deep goal for the movement that can sustain beyond smaller concrete issues.

how to make a case of affective forms of knowledge?

– we need a new subjectivity.

How do you practicalise EarthCARE? –
Members concerned that people are so closed off, and so are institutions – so wondering about how this works in practice.
One member shares her experience – son started school seven (for 2 yrs, now homeschooled), he had the ability to see/question schooling and couldn’t deal with the compartmentalisation (i.e. between subjects and between learning and playing time). She wants to know what she can do now to develop create holistic and alternative education in her family (some discussion of Steiner, Montessori & Forest schools, but not ideal or accessible to all).

– Sarah gives example of programs with uni management in US organised around meditation and rethinking policy and separability – “it is in practice but it does involve translation and compromise .. you can’t start from nowhere”.

– As educators we can use this framework in designing a space. Use it to check whether the learning we facilitates allows all of these justices to speak. Thinking that SSC is a great space but doesn’t meet all of these.

– can look different for different contexts and priorities, and there is some question about the relation between these justices and how each are prioritised. The time, space, opportunity impact which are prioritised and this links to power and investment. Sarah shares challenges of different ideas were being practiced at the same time; discussion, action and ceremony/ritual were all understood as the “work” of fixing things – different people understand and value processes differently. – what is “the work?”

A SSC scholar shares an example of working with appreciative inquiry – and reflecting on consciousness to be “facilitator” over “liberator”. They had felt the language (of dream and destiny) couldn’t be used in the context as it could offend or alienate people. A minute to think and actively not jump in to response gave space to speak to other people to have conversations. Now they wished they’d used the words dream and destiny and collectively explored what they meant, the scholar considers whether the example illustrates their conforming and complying to norms and their (then) preference not to show emotion.

In existing institutions
Difficult to practice – roles and relations informed by institutional norms and employment/contract conditions.

Thinking about students’ role and agency in creating more holistic/democratic learning experiences.
Create spaces for dialogue

EarthCARE is pragmatic given the problems we are seeing.

       – our system not working & lack of interdisciplinary knowledge, mental health problems etc.

We need to think about what is the education that we want? We don’t often have that discussion. – What do we dream?

A lot of this is about messiness, at your home, in the institutions, open it up, uncomfortable,

It’s about unlearning, taking the risk/personal responsibility to unlearn – Painful and discomforting –
Forcing people to look into the mirror that they don’t want to look into

EarthCARE presentation– why does it look corporate? Fluidity is incompatible with these diagrams, frameworks etc.
– It is packaged– presented for potential funders, and to legitimise in order to put forward ideas that are radical.

– Reflected that this is the same for SSC website.

Small groups We broke into small groups to quickly talk about how we felt about EarthCARE.
(I spoke with Mahmood and Adiza about our own hopes and fears about the project and our contexts).
Next week Next week is same time on Tuesday and is about emergent learning.
SSC have been asked to contribute chapter to a book. Please send 100-200 words about why you come to SSC.


Creating curricula for new alternatives: the EarthCare project

Tuesday 3rd March, 7pm, Mint Lane

In this session I will share about ongoing work in a project called the ‘EarthCARE Global Justice Framework’ and invite reflection on the kinds of alternative world-making that it offers.

The EarthCARE Global Justice framework emerged out of an international R&D network of eco-social learning initiatives that seek to integrate ecological, cognitive, affective, relational, and economic (EarthCARE) approaches to local and global justice. This framework is intended to push the boundaries of prevailing approaches to global change and related definitions of ‘global citizenship’, ‘development’, ‘success’, and ‘sustainability’ beyond problematic patters of simplistic analyses and engagements well documented in research (see ‘HEADS UP’ tool). The framework aims to support the design of deep learning processes that can enable CARE-ful learners to think, relate and work together differently to alleviate the effects and transform root causes of unprecedented global challenges.

The EarthCARE framework proposes a vision of deep transformational learning processes that combine practical doing (together), the building of trust (in one another), deepening analyses (of self, systems, and social and ecological complexity), and dismantling walls (between peoples, knowledges, and cultures). In this vision, intellectual engagements, the arts, ethics, cosmovisions, the environment, and embodied practices are all understood as important conduits for learning.

The EarthCARE global justice framework is unique as it combines six complementary approaches to justice that encourage ‘alternative approaches to engagement with alternatives’, moving beyond the search for universal models and problem-solving approaches towards preparing people to work together with and through the complexities, uncertainties, paradoxes, and complicities that characterize efforts to address unprecedented global challenges collaboratively today.


Notes from the Co-operative Higher Education Pedagogy Workshop

Date: 19th June, 2015, 10-4pm

Venue: Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln, UK

Wheel of cooperation

Wheel of Cooperation

This workshop sought to explore  a pedagogy for cooperative higher education, starting from the practices and principles of Student as Producer, the foundational pedagogy for the Social Science Centre, Lincoln. Student as Producer is based on the notion that students are co-workers with academics and other university staff, contributing to the development of knowledge and science. At the core of Student as Producer lies the intention to overcome the social relations of capitalist production so that humanity-in-nature is the project rather than the resource for a post-capitalist society. The pedagogy that emerges from the workshop and from further discussions and research will provide the structuring principle of a framework for cooperative higher learning.

The workshop was interactive, involving high levels of collaboration and cooperation. The participants said how much they enjoyed the event, especially the format of the activities and the space, the hall of Croft Street Community Centre.

The main themes for the workshop were:

  • Content and subject matter of curriculum: cooperative studies or discipline focussed, or interdisciplinary based on themes, for example, current global and local emergencies
  • Assessment and evaluation, perhaps taking peer review of academic and student practice as the model
  • The learning environment and ecology: how to make a sustaining intellectual space for cooperative learning
  • Technologies for teaching: using web-based technologies in ways that avoid machinic and automated learning
  • Programme for first year of teaching and research, with plans for development through subsequent levels of higher education
  • The process of learning cooperatively: enabling students and teachers to learn how to cooperate in ways that sustain a cooperative educational institution

Nature and Scope

The workshop crystallised our understanding about the real nature and scope of the cooperative university that is being modelled:

The aim is to establish a cooperative form of higher learning conscious of its connection to and engagement with the historical and logical development of the cooperative movement.

The institutional form of the cooperative will substantiate the political, moral and ethical values of the cooperative movement, set within an educational context.

The pedagogy will be grounded in the practices and principles of cooperative learning, recognising that much can be learned about how to be a cooperator-student/teacher (i.e. ‘scholar’), while at the same time acknowledging that cooperative practices are already endemic in radical social interactions.

Areas for further development

No concrete plans for the curriculum were decided, however a number of areas were identified for further development:

The relationship between students and academics as well as other members of the cooperative is the central issue. These relationships will be complex and fluid depending on the nature of activities, but should be grounded within a constitutional framework that confronts issues of power, difference and desire, as well as (in)equalities, while at the same time recognising the importance of deliberative leadership.

The curriculum should be open and enquiring, based on outcomes that are not predetermined. At the same time there should be a sense of progress and structure. This structure might be validated by an accreditations programme that could be established.

Cooperative learning develops in a context within which the relationship between the individual, ‘I’ , and the collective ‘We’, is brought into sharp relief: as the social individual, or radical individuality.

The curriculum should be embedded in the real lives of the members as well as the communities within which the cooperative is situated. This community extends to the community of cooperatives engaged in related social and public issues: housing, health, employment etc.

The content of the curriculum should reflect the nature of cooperative society: critical political economy, the history of the workers movement, working class intellectuality and philosophy, gender studies (cooperative women), making links between the natural and the social sciences and  not merely as versions of  interdisciplinarity but as ‘troublesome’, ‘useful’ and ‘critical-practical’ knowledges.

The cooperative would need to establish its own resources (‘Library’)  to support teaching and research, making use of already available materials on-line and elsewhere. Care should be taken not to duplicate what is being provided elsewhere for similar purposes and for the cooperative model to find its own way of making a distinctive contribution to what could be shared and offered to others.

The technology should be open source making use of the legal frameworks that have been established to support mutualism and other collaborative ways of working. Examples of these can be found in the free software and free culture movement, creative commons regimes and commons based peer production, as well as the newly emerging open cooperatives.

The cooperative for higher learning to be part of a network of progressive, alternative higher learning provision, including Mondragon, Unitierra, and cooperative universities in Mexico and Colombia and elsewhere, yet to be discovered; and to make links with the ‘enlivened learning’ project.

Wheel of Cooperation

There was a recognition that all of these aspects are closely interlinked with other parts of the model for cooperative learning that is being developed, including governance, legality, the business plan and the transnational network. There should  be a recognition of the close connections needed to ensure the day to day running of the cooperative, so that roles need to be shared and supported within a culture of equivalence, respect and trust.


Andrea Abbas (University of Bath)

Maureen Breeze (International Association for the Study of Cooperation in Education)

Keith Crome (Manchester Metropolitan University

Dunya Dunda (University of Brighton)

Nathan Fretwell (London Metropolitan University)

Luke Gregory-Jones (Goldsmiths College, London)

Mike Neary (Social Science Centre and University of Lincoln

Patrick O’Connor (Nottingham Trent University)

Spyros Themelis (University of East Anglia)

Joss Winn (Social Science Centre and University of Lincoln)

Tom Woodin (Institute of Education, UCL)

Workshop – Pedagogy for Co-operative Higher Education

To-date, seventy people have volunteered to participate in our ISRF-funded project. Below is the outline for the first workshop that was sent to those people who said they wanted to attend. We hope to post summary notes from each workshop before the following workshop.

Social Science Centre, Lincoln: Independent Social Research Foundation Project

Workshop – Pedagogy for Cooperative Higher Education

Venue: Croft Street Community Centre

Date: 19th June, 2015, 10am – 4pm

This workshop will attempt to provide a pedagogical framework for cooperative higher education. The framework will seek to develop the practices and principles of Student as Producer (Neary and Winn 2009), which has been one of the foundational pedagogies for the Social Science Centre, Lincoln.  Student as Producer means students working closely with academics, both as forms of academic labour, to produce scientific knowledge and understanding for the benefit of humanity and the natural world. This principle of cooperation and collaboration extends to teaching and learning activities, with students taking on the role of teachers with other students and academics. A core understanding of Student as Producer is that students and teachers have much to learn from each other. The focus for this workshop is not on the institutional forms this arrangement can take, but, rather, the dynamic capacity of a social relationship to produce scientific knowledge at the level of society, rather than the individual and the market. This knowledge at the level of society can be expressed as ‘a new form of social knowing’ (Neary 2012).  The issue of institutional forms will be looked at in subsequent workshops, together with financial and legal arrangements as well as the transnational aspects of a networked cooperative higher education.

We have suggested a structure for the Pedagogy event, together with a number of key issues to be addressed and some reading material. An important principle of the work we are doing together is that it should involve collaboration and cooperation at all stages, so we are very keen for your suggestions as to how the workshop should be organised as well as important matters you feel need to be discussed, together with suggestions for further reading.


Key suggested themes to be addressed at this workshop to include:

  • Content and subject matter: cooperative studies or discipline focussed, or interdisciplinary based on themes, for example, current global and local emergencies
  • Assessment and peer review of academic and student practice
  • The learning environment and ecology – how to make a sustaining intellectual space
  • Technologies for teaching – using web-based technologies in ways that avoid machinic and automated learning
  • Programme for first year of teaching and research, with plans for development through subsequent levels of higher education, now expressed as Masters and Doctoral work.


Some reading have been suggested to inform your thinking about these issues before coming to the workshop:

Neary, M. and Winn, J. (2009) ‘The Student as Producer: Reinventing the Student Experience in Higher Eduction’, in L. Bell, H. Stevenson and M. Neary (eds) The  Future of Higher Education: Policy, Pedagogy and the Student Experience, Continuum, London and New York

Neary, M. (2012) ‘Beyond Teaching in Public: The University as a of Social Knowing’, in M. Neary, H. Stevenson and L. Bell (eds) Towards Teaching in Public: Making the Modern University, Continuum, London and New York


You will be assigned to a syndicate during the workshop. Please work in this syndicate throughout the day. You will be working on one or more of the issues raised above as well as other issues that arise. There will be plenty of opportunity for interacting with participants from other syndicates.

10.00 – 10.15 Coffee

1015 – 10.30 Aims for the day

10.30 – 11.00 Presentation – Student as Producer and questions

11- 1230 Syndicate working on themes – with coffee

12.30 – 13.00 Feedback to full session

13.00 – 13.45 Lunch

13.45 – 15.00 Continue with themes in syndicates

1500 Feedback to full session

1545 – 16.00 Wrap up and action planning

Online Focus Group

We are organising an online focus group for those of you who cannot attend the workshop. This will be on 2nd July 19.00 – 21.00 BST. More details to follow.

Public Seminar (21 May): ‘Place-based education and decolonizing universities’

Place-based education in the Canadian Arctic: Decolonizing universities, decolonizing politics

Darcy Leigh, University of Edinburgh

21 May 2015 | 7:00–9:00pm
Mint Lane Involvement Centre, Lincoln (LN1 1UD)

In Canada, formal education has been a central tool of colonial assimilation. Today, education remains a key site of anti-colonial and Indigenous struggles and of interventions. Understanding what is happening in these struggles and in projects to develop alternative forms of higher education thus offers insight into the meaning of politics itself and into the role of higher education in decolonizing society.

In this discussion, Darcy Leigh will share her experiences of working with two anti-colonial higher education projects in the Canadian Arctic. Both are using ‘place-based pedagogy’ and both are combining different forms of knowledge and politics in an Arctic setting, to rework existing possibilities and develop and practice alternatives. This discussion offers space to learn how these projects are using place-based education to navigate these tensions and to decolonize both politics and education in the Canadian Arctic, and for participants to consider connections to their own lives and work.

More about Darcy: Darcy Leigh is a Fellow at the Academy of Government at the University of Edinburgh, where she co-teaches the course ‘Political Work’. Her work is about how people inhabit and contest neo and late liberal narratives of political agency. She is especially concerned with the possibilities for agency that are closing and opening in universities. She recently completed her PhD, titled ‘Post-liberal agency: Decolonizing politics and universities in the Canadian Arctic’, for which she worked with Indigenous and Northern actors in a struggle for/over an Arctic university. In the past five years she has also been a Research Assistant and/or instructor with Dechinta Bush University (, Northern Governance and Economy (, and the Akitsiraq Law School ( She teaches political, critical, feminist, queer and anti-colonial theory and action across the social sciences at the University of Edinburgh and specializes in collaborative, affective and inclusive pedagogy. 

Contact to talk about childcare support for the seminar.